Friday, December 14, 2007

Some tips for your rose exhibition day

Now that you finally have a rose garden that you can be proud of, it's time to take the next step and let others judge the beauty of your roses. Rose shows and exhibits are exciting events where you get a chance to see how your roses stack up against those from other rosarians. It doesn't matter if you win, just the experience will teach you a lot.

Before entering your own roses, take the time to visit a few rose shows so you can see how everything works.

If at all possible, try to get permission to enter the preparation room so you can see what experienced displayers do before the judging begins.

Get a copy of the rule book from the American Rose Society. Visit their web site at for information.

When you decide that you are ready to enter a show, look for one that's close to home so you can keep your travel time and expenses to a minimum. There are plenty of exhibits that offer special judging classes for beginners, so try to find one of those.

Follow this timetable and you'll be ready to face the judges on the day of the show:

30 days before the show

Start the process of narrowing down you choices to the rose that you will be showing. It's easiest to start with displaying one single bloom on a stem. Be sure to select a rose with a sturdy and straight stem.

Begin preparing the rose for exhibit by cutting off all of the buds that are forming between the side of the stem and the leaf. This focuses all of the nutrients to the single bloom at the end of the stem.

Support the cane of your selected rose by staking it with a bamboo stake and some rose or twist ties. This protects the cane and helps to support the rose as it grows.

Spray fungicide when needed and promptly remove aphids and spider mites if they appear. Aphids can be removed by spritzing with soapy water. Spider mites can be lightly sprayed with plain water.

Water your roses as you normally do and apply organics and fertilizer as required.

Put together your toolkit for the day of the show. Most experienced rosarians include the following in their kits:

Several soft cloths Q-Tips Shears Plastic wrap Small, soft artist's paintbrush ARS Rule Book

Seven days before the show

Cover your selected bloom with a baggy that's secured below the bloom with a tie at night, and remove the baggie before the sun rises in the morning. Do this every night until you leave for the show.

Two or three days before the show

Cut the rose following the instructions in our "Tips for cutting roses for display" article. Cut the stem a bit longer than usual because you will be re-cutting the day of the show.

Place the rose in a florist's bucket, cover the bloom with a baggie and tie it off below the bloom. Place the bucket and rose in the refrigerator.

The morning of the show

Remove the rose from the refrigerator, place the container and rose safely in your car, grab your kit, and head for the show!

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